Environmental Protection

The industry is committed to deliver our services and projects in an environmentally responsible manner with due consideration to the principles of Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD).

Specifically, there is a need to:

  • Comply with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations, codes of practice and contractual conditions
  • Prevent pollution of the environment from activities over which we have control
  • Conduct business with suppliers who have a commitment to responsible environmental management
  • Prevent serious or irreversible environmental damage
  • Conserve biological diversity and ecological integrity
  • Use the real cost of environmental factors in project decisions
  • Provide training and education to workers and contractors, and
  • Continually improve our environmental management performance by regular reviews and setting realistic environmental objectives and targets, and reporting and investigating any significant incidents.

 

All workers are authorised and expected to stop work and immediately notify their supervisor if a task is likely to create a significant environmental impact.

To achieve our policy goals we will plan and manage our activities in accordance with best practice environmental management principles. This includes achieving an equitable balance between environmental, social and economic considerations.

Environmental permits approvals and licences

Prior to the commencement of any work that may require the issuing of licences, permits or approvals from the EPA or any other statutory authority, the following steps should be carried out:

  • Complete an Environmental Risk Assessment. Identify all activities that may have an impact upon the environment or local community, and consult with the client
  • If necessary, contact the EPA or local authority and request an Environmental Officer to review the proposed project scope and existing plans for the project
  • Ensure that all environmental permits, licenses and approvals applicable to local site conditions and contractual requirements are identified and obtained before work commences on site.

 

Heritage and cultural significance

  • Cease all operations in the immediate area on discovery of culturally significant / heritage material or sites and report to supervisor. Work should not recommence until directed by the relevant authority
  • Discovery of human skeletal remains should be reported to the police
  • In heritage listed buildings, avoid physical damage, or alteration to building structure, fittings or contents. Provide appropriate protection to heritage structures or features identified in assessment
  • Confirm and agree with site management/owner as to potential impacts of work to be undertaken
  • Maintain records of all cultural heritage findings.

 

Protection of vegetation and wildlife

Identify areas of vegetation and natural habitat that are to be protected from damage and soil contamination and undue disturbance.Discuss with client appropriate controls and where appropriate seek professional advice from tree care person (Arborist or Botanist) and wildlife specialist.

Visible barriers should be placed between designated vegetation or habitat and any works to minimise risk of damage, eg clearly marked fencing.

Vegetation in General (Flora)

  • All trees and other vegetation identified in the contract specifications should be protected before work begins. They should be identified and the need for protection communicated to all workers on site.

 

Wildlife in General (Fauna)

  • Inspect any large trees, dense plantings, rocks and even dead trees with hollows that may provide nesting for birds or possums, or habitat for small animals, lizards, etc
  • Do not disturb the habitat of protected species
  • Do not kill or harm any animals on your site unless your safety is at serious immediate risk (eg poisonous snakes, wasps, hornets, bees, etc) or preferably have them professionally relocated.

 

Energy conservation

There is a strong push for the community at large to conserve energy and have less impact on the global environment and climate change.This includes requirements under the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

  • Subject to design specifications and constraints, select low energy usage construction materials, fittings and appliances for use (including heating/cooling and lighting).
  • Encourage clients to install solar and renewable energy devices and designs, and to use natural lighting and ventilation wherever possible.

Refer to NECA for Eco-Smart philosophies and training.

Noise management (Environmental)

Ensure your activities have minimal noise and vibration impact on neighbours, occupants and users of the facility. This can be achieved by:

  • Adhering to time restrictions for noisy activities determined by the client, licence or development consents
  • Ensuring noise suppression devices are maintained to the manufactures’ specifications
  • Quieten the source, use soundproof enclosures or position the noise generating activities away from the fence line and nearby receivers
  • Erecting noise barriers to absorb and deflect sound away from residential areas, and considerer scheduling and methods to limit noise impacts, e.g. prevent flanking to adjacent structures by saw cutting a separation
  • Informing the community and local residents of activities with potential to generate loud noise. Communicate scheduled duration and proposed noise control measures.
  • Where noise or vibration is an issue use a competent person to monitor, assess and report.

 

Air quality and dust control

The key environmental risks to air quality are the release of airborne contaminants including dust, odour, smoke and exhaust fumes.Controls are required to eliminate, minimise and mitigate emissions.

  • Where there are potential issues, monitor emissions and provide adequate controls to meet national standards. Monitoring and assessments should be performed by a competent person.
  • Maintain good housekeeping standards. If contaminating dust comes from exposed soil, minimise the exposed areas and use water spray/moisture (where electrically safe) and covers to reduce the potential for windblown dust in and around the site and residential areas.Cover or enclose dusty load whilst in storage and before they leave site and ensure the wheels of vehicles are clean.
  • Avoid or minimise the use of solvents, glues and other chemicals that release odours or vapours and limit the quantity on site. Use water based paints where practicable.All liquid chemicals to be properly contained –refer to the safety data sheet (SDS).
  • Identify and control potential ignition sources and flammable materials to minimise potential for fire, smoke and fumes. Hold appropriate fire extinguishers on hand.
  • If there is an atmospheric release of contaminants, immediately call your supervisor for assistance; and if safe to do so, mitigate the impact through containment.

 

Management of waste water

Manage water usage and ensure that relevant controls are implemented and utilised for the protection of water quality and control or mitigate unplanned discharge or spills into drains or watercourses (rivers, streams, ponds, dams, ground water, etc.).

  • Design and install structures to control erosion. Use silt fences or other sediment control devices, such as hay bales and geotextiles
  • Where responsible for removal of waters from casual water containment area, inspect for water contamination. If you suspect that the water is contaminated, treated it as though it is.

 

Contaminated water removal

  • For containment areas, sumps or openings where contamination is suspected, contact the approved licensed waste contractor to collect, treat and dispose of the water.

 

Uncontaminated water removal

  • Check with the EPA and/or the local authorities for requirements on water discharge. There may be a requirement for notification, permits, and/or for discharge to a holding tank, or other controls
  • Water that is confirmed as uncontaminated is to be removed by using a pump with a filter attachment covering the discharge point thereby trapping any debris from the containment areas
  • In unpaved areas, the water may be discharged over grass (e.g. the public nature strip) or gutter
  • Care must be taken to ensure the discharge rate and flow direction will not damage flora or cause soil erosion
  • In paved areas or where water is to be discharged into storm water systems, take the additional precaution of placing a geo-textile bund at the storm water drain inlet to trap any sediment, which may escape the initial filtering process.

 

Records (of removal and disposal contents)

  • All details of disposal including an estimate of the volume of water discharged shall be recorded in the site supervisor’s work diary.

 

Liquid chemical spill management and response

Spill prevention:

  • Minimise site quantities of hazardous chemicals to that required, and ensure correct storage
  • For bulk chemicals, ensure storage tanks and containers have appropriate bunding
  • Review the SDS, undertake risk assessments, and provide PPE and essentials for spill response
  • Provide training and instruction in the safe use of liquids and chemicals, and for refuelling plant.

 

Spill response:

  • Mitigate the impact. Secure the spill site then ensure that the area is safe and access is controlled
  • For small spills, the person on job should undertake containment and call the supervisor for assistance. Use rags and kitty litter to collect the spilled chemical and clean up using materials and PPE as per the SDS
  • For larger spills, immediately assess the spill to determine if it can be dealt with by the individual, the spill response team or if outside assistance is required e.g. HAZCHEM, police, fire brigade, specialist spill response company
  • Contact the Chief Fire Warden and Emergency Services where there are emergency risks –dial 000
  • Report the quantity of any spill quantity that has potential to harm humans or the environment to your supervisor.

 

Spill containment C-A-D:

Contain

Use sand bags, automatic shut off devices, spill booms, absorption products, drain covers and bunding. Traps may be used to cover and prevent dampness to granules or possible dispersion by wind, etc

Absorb

Deploy site spill kits or appropriate material to absorb spill

Dispose

Place the spent absorbent in the disposal bags. Correctly dispose of contaminants off site in line with local regulations.

Soil disposal (including contamination)

Ensure that all soil and waste material, used or generated on site, is managed and disposed of in a manner that protects both the site and adjacent properties from contamination.

  • Make certain that any soil required to be disposed of off site is removed in accordance with client and legislative requirements
  • Clean spoil (soil, rock, etc.) should be reused on-site in the first instance or beneficially reused in some form off-site to reduce waste
  • Clean spoil should not be taken to landfill unless absolutely necessary or required by contract
  • Contaminated soils need to be handled carefully and in accordance with legislative requirements
  • Contaminated soils on your project should not be excavated without first contacting the client to discuss implications and instructions
  • Contaminated soil movement on the site needs to be tracked. Soils may require treatment before re-use, or may have to be disposed of at an approved landfill site.

 

Recycling and disposal of trade waste

Many materials including most of the following are recyclable: Metals, batteries, fluorescent tubes, cables, cable drums, pallets, vegetation, paper, cardboard, chemicals, oils (lube & transformer), paints and plastics.Some scrap has considerable value and some waste must go to approved sites.

Recycled materials should be separated (where practicable) from general waste, and contained and disposed of through approved channels ASAP and without harm to the environment.

All removed asbestos waste and contaminated materials must be double bagged before leaving the immediate work area.All workers must be trained and follow strict rules.Use a licensed asbestos removalist for work involving quantities of >10m2.

Many materials including most of the following are recyclable: Metals, batteries, fluorescent tubes, cables, cable drums, pallets, vegetation, paper, cardboard, chemicals, oils (lube & transformer), paints and plastics. Some scrap has considerable value and some waste must go to approved sites.

Recycled materials should be separated (where practicable) from general waste, and contained and disposed of through approved channels ASAP and without harm to the environment.

All removed asbestos waste and contaminated materials must be double bagged before leaving the immediate work area. All workers must be trained and follow strict rules. Use a licensed asbestos removalist for work involving quantities of >10m2.